Monday, September 29, 2008

Baseball Dreams

I was going to write about what it means to be a Cub fan, but I don't think I can fully capture in in words. And if I came close I think the only people who would get it would be other Cub fans. 

I'm going to the first two games of the series against the Dodgers this week. On Wednesday I'm driving up to Wilmette to stay with my folks. Maggie is coming along for the ride as her schedule is much harder for Mary to coordinate around than it is for the other girls who are in school all day. My parents are graciously going to play with their youngest granddaughter while I play at Wrigley. I'm looking forward to the car ride with Mag. She's a hoot and we'll have fun on our nine hour tour to Chicagoland.

I won an online auction to get one seat in the right field bleachers for Wednesday. On Thursday I'm going with brother Brian and sitting in seats my sister is letting us have. Over these two days I know I'll be reminiscing about my past experiences at Wrigley with friends and family.

There are so many memories to share since we had season tickets since I can recall. What follows next is something I cannot control. It's a ramble of thoughts that jump into my mind when I think of the Cubs and Wrigley Field. It's the best I can do to convey what it means to me to be a fan. If you get it, you get it. If you don't, well I'm sorry. Here it goes:

The first set of seats my folks had were somewhere around the 8-10th row behind home plate. They were such choice seats that you could call the pitch before the ump hollered out. And these were in the days before they changed the net and a ball fouled directly back would roll up and down over your head on the much worn net to the sound of someone playing a slide whistle.

There was the hassling of opposing players "Hey! Your a hot dog Montenez! Montenez, you're a hot dog!"

And the players and coaches I knew and loved (and sometimes hated) who made those teams mine:

Bill Madlock, Mike Kelleher, Steve Ontiveros, Manny Trillo, Herman Franks Larry Bittner, Rick and Steve Reuschel, Steve Stone, Mike Krukow, Bill Buckner, Bobby Murcer, Ivan DeJesus, Bruce Sutter, Dave Kingman, Ron Cey, Dick Tidrow, Leon Durham, Bobby Dernier, Rick Sutcliffe, Keith Moreland, Jody Davis, Ryne Sandberg, Shawn Dunston, Mark Grace, Andre Dawson, Sammy Sosa and every other player who ever wore the blue pinstripes.

The time my dirty yellow hat was picked out of the crowd by Arnie Harris. Thanks Arnie for my fifteen!

The first time I went to a game on my own with my best friend John Stutz. I think we were in third grade and had to convince both sets of parents that we could do it. I knew the "L" stops by heart. On at Wilmette, switch at Howard, off at Addison. And make sure to save money for the trip home.

The time when the Cubs made the playoffs in '84 and my mother wrote a note for me to be absent from school because "Dan's grandmother is being buried at Wrigley Field today." Then going to the game and watch Ernie do a trick "throw" to home plate for the opening toss (he held on to the throw and flipped it over  his back to home plate), listen to Jimmy Buffet sing the National Anthem and then watch Rick Sutcliffe hit a run home run as he pitched the Cubs to a 13-0 victory in game one over the Padres.

Or the time when John was grounded and we sneaked out to a game, only to be on tv during game highlights on the news that night.

Or sitting with my mom and having the men around us ask her how she scored a play on her scorecard. She taught me well.

Or sitting with my sister in the stands and realizing that title of biggest Cubs fan in the family might just need to go to her.

Being old enough to have an Old Style at the game. And then getting a better beer the next time.

Remembering when all hotdogs came with mustard already in the bun. And then learning the secret of how to roll the dog in the bun to spread the mustard around.

Sitting in Stutz's basement singing along to "Hey! Hey! Holy Mackerel! No doubt about it!" on his record player.

Learning to eat peanuts in the shell.

Jack Brickhouse. 

Clark, Addison, Sheffield and Waveland. 

Harry Caray.

Sitting in the right field bleachers shouting "left field sucks!" 
Sitting in the left field bleachers shouting "right field sucks!"
Sitting in centerfield bleachers shouting "you both suck!"

Collecting paper cups and "popping" them on the ground.

The summer I was fifteen and was an Andy Frain usher at Wrigley. My uniform was so big it made me look like David Byrne. But I didn't care because I had a job at Wrigley.

When I sing "Take me out to the ballgame" I cannot help but sing "if the Cubs don't win it's a shame" no matter what ballpark I am at be it National League, American League or Minor League.

Being able to completely understand how Steve Goodman could write both "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request" and "Go Cubs Go!".

And getting close to tears the first time I heard Ralph Covert sing "Baseball Dreams".

Not being able to root for the Mets or Cardinals to win even if it helps the Cubs playoff chances. Ever.
When Mary asked me why I couldn't just watch the games on television I didn't try to explain it all. I still don't think I could. And when she asked me what I would do if they made it to the World Series and I couldn't get a ticket? I said it doesn't matter. I don't need one to be able to feel like I am there. I know that place inside and out and know a part of me will be there in spirit to cheer on my Cubs.

But I just may need to make a trip to Clark and Addison to be outside while the games are going on. Just in case I might find that miracle ticket.


All The Way

This song gives me chills. I love it.

Note: somehow these videos keep disappearing. Not sure why, but there are plenty of versions of this song on youtube to watch.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Sta Puft Marshmallow Man Has A Dirty Bum

Mary and I had an argument last night. It's not important what it was about, but let's just say that it involved a piece of dark chocolate and the kids not talking to her.

What is important is that we had an argument. It's been a while since we've had a good one and this week we've had two. I think they are related. In fact I think they are both really about the same thing: toilet paper.

Wait a minute you say. How is a piece of dark chocolate related to toilet paper? That just sounds like you are being gross. Okay, now that I think about it... it does sound like I'm being gross. But I'm not. It's just that I think Mary got upset about the dark chocolate thing because she was really mad that I bought the wrong kind of toilet paper. Not that I did though. I bought the right kind for everyone else in the world who likes to feel clean. Which, apparently, is not for her.

See, Mary likes Charmin Ultra. I don't. I think it's too soft. It's like wiping with a marshmallow. I never feel clean. I prefer something different. Anything different really. So I've been buying different brands to see if we can meet in the middle somewhere. And since Mary thinks the Scott toilet paper I brought home this past Monday feels like sandpaper to her tushy, that would mean we'd need to find common toilet paper ground that is somewhere between Sta Puft Marshmallows and 40 grit sandpaper.

I already opened the pack of Scott's so we can't return it. Mary, being frugal enough to not want to waste already purchased product, has said I can keep a roll of Scott's in our bathroom while she puts Charmin on all the other rolls in the house. I tried to trick her buy replacing the Charmin rolls with Scott's but it didn't work. I could hear her down the hall yelling at me when she found out. She's rather finicky, no?

I shared with her my marshmallow analogy and she didn't seem to like it. "You're a marshmallow" was all she could seem to muster in reply.

Well if I am a marshmallow, then I would want to wipe with Scott's. At least that way I'd be clean.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Twitter For Grumpy People

Okay. With school starting back up next week for the girls, I'm feeling like I'm ready to come back from summer break with a whole new attitude about blogging. I've been storing up ideas for posts and I'll start sharing again. 

For the past few months I've tried to unplug from web 2.0 world and get as analog as I could. I felt like I needed to in order to focus my first full summer as a stay at home dad. I read somewhere that there are like 150,000 of us in the United States.  A small number, but growing each year it seems. Anywho... I deleted a whole slew of online accounts such as my lens on Squidoo, my profile on LinkedIn and more. Scott and a few others noticed, but he was the one to get me back in the swing of things. He turned me on to and encouraged me to test it out. Sure I heard of it, but I couldn't fathom who would care to read little snippets of info without a full story attached to it. After signing up and playing around a bit I think I like it. It's micro-blogging. That's not blogging in 2.5 pt type, it's blogging in 140 words or less. I'm still in week one with it, but I'm thinking I'll keep up with it and work out how best to use it for my needs. You don't need to follow me on Twitter if you don't want to. You can catch me latest tweets over there on the right hand side of this page. Pretty nice eh? I think that will keep me from posting little tidbits here and instead I'll post my longer thoughts in full blog post form here on this site. Sounds like a good plan to me. 

Now for some fun:

Sometimes I get bored. When I do I get to thinking about ways to cure the boredom. Since Twitter was so new to me and I was having fun with it. I thought... hmmm, if I were in charge of Twitter I'd like to know how could we expand our product offering. Twitter is nice and all, but could we target different niches with it? After about thirty seconds or so of brainstorming and about an hour trying to remember how to use Photoshop, I present to you the first Twitter line extension:


Sunday, June 22, 2008

I'm busy...

building inertia. I'm really enjoying it. 

Back again soon.


Friday, June 20, 2008

My Parahippocampal Gyrus

Is, apparently, working just fine. Whew! That is a huge relief.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'm Busy...

Making memories with the family. Back again sometime. 

Thanks for stopping by the blog.



Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Let The Tooth Be Polled

In my quest to find out how many crazy parents are giving an exorbitant amount of cashola to their kiddos for a lost tooth I came across this poll on I know there are caveats galore with this type of polling, but I thought it worthwhile to check out and see how people with online access, that know of and have found this poll on the site through a specific search (I entered "tooth" in the site search box) answered the question of how much the tooth fairy leaves their kids. The responses here, so far, indicate that most are giving a dollar or less. Therefore I must conclude that the people who are giving twenty dollars, such as our favorite top dad, must not have internet access and/or have thought to seek out and answer a poll like this. Either that or everyone who has answered is lying through their twenty dollar teeth.


Friday, April 18, 2008

The Golden Tooth

I am so very thankful that the writers strike is over. Soon shows like Heroes will be back on the air and we will not have to sit through more last minute reality show ideas like My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad. Did you see that one? I think it ran its course in about a week. I'm perfectly fine if that one never comes back. 

I almost hate to admit that I watched an entire episode of My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad, except for the fact that I learned something from it. That's right. I learned something from watching My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad. I learned that:

Writers are incredibly talented individuals who provide us with entertainment leaps and bounds above anything presented in a reality tv show.


Some parents are idiots.

Why do I say this? Well, because if you've seen a reality show in the past few months you know that we are better off with the strike over. Life without writers is painful. And to the lesson learned about parents as idiots? Let's just say that being the "Top Dad" on My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad only applied to not being the worst at various feats of skill and trivia on the show. It did not apply to basic, common sense approach to parenting.

I know this because during the final portion of the show, one dad had to guess things about his kid to earn points. He had to answer questions like "what does Bobby want to be when he grows up?" and "what is Bobby's favorite subject in school?" Softball questions to be sure for most parents. You'd expect the answer to be  "a firefighter" and "math", but the clincher was "how much money did the tooth fairy leave under Bobby's pillow for the last tooth that he lost?" This one question told me much more about this dad than any feat of skill he may have performed earlier on in the show (like dodging tennis balls is that tough, c'mon!). I expected this dad to say the tooth fairy left anything from a quarter to maybe two dollars (if it was the kids last tooth that would be worth more after all, right?). But no. The dad did not say a quarter. He did not say fifty cents. He didn't even say two dollars. What did he say? He said TWENTY DOLLARS!!!!

Good gravy, people! Who gives their kid twenty dollars.... for a tooth!?!?!? I was so shocked that my mouth really did hit the floor. I had to get down and search for it on the floor of our bedroom. After finding that it had bounced off the cat and landed in a pile of laundry we've been planning on washing for the past week, we wiped off the cat fur and had Mary pull out her home suture kit to put it back on my face. TWENTY DOLLARS for a tooth?!?!? Absolutely ridiculous.

Now I know there will be some people reading this who want to know how much the tooth fairy brings our kids. I'm happy to share that with you. Our kids get twenty-five cents per tooth. That's it. Hannah has not gone through all her baby teeth yet, so we'll have to wait and see if maybe she gets a bump in pay for the last one. But I can tell you right here and now that it will not be twenty dollars. Maybe two. Maybe.

I did some informal polling with friends and learned that we might be on the low end of things. Most reports I got back were anywhere from twenty-five cents (we are not alone there) to fifty cents to a dollar to two dollars. One even mentioned giving five dollars, and as much as I wanted to turn them into some governing body overseeing tooth fairy budgeting I have decided to pass in order to save the friendship (though I will never look at them the same way again).

But twenty dollars? Everyone I spoke with agreed that this is insane. What kind of message are these parents sending to their kids? That they should expect to get a huge reward for doing nothing? If this type of parenting continues I fear the day when their kid starts bringing home report cards with anything less than an A+. I mean, he should get the top grades just for showing up, right? That teacher will get an ear full won't they?  And what about getting a job? He's being groomed to expect an out of control CEO salary which is way out of line with the hourly wage the blue collar line workers that work for him take home at the end of the week, right?

Okay. Maybe I don't have all the information. Maybe the kid had a cavity in that tooth. And maybe that cavity was filled with gold. With the price of gold these days the tooth fairy might have actually been ripping the kid off. Maybe we should start an investigation and get the kid the additional $490 the tooth fairy owes him.

$20 for a tooth? What were you thinking???


Monday, April 14, 2008

Posts Not Posted

I was thinking about what to write about today and it occurred to me that I should take a look at some posts that I had saved in draft form. Maybe I'd fine inspiration in a draft. Most of these, it turns out, were nothing more than titles for posts. I can pretty much figure out what it was I was thinking about for most of them, but for some of them I have no clue. They intrigue me. What was I thinking with these titles? What was I going to write about? Here's a few sample posts with title, but no content yet:
  • Kids, Bodily Functions and the Choices We Make
  • Why Rock-n-Roll Rocks!
  • You Can't Fake Cool
  • Gaston Is Not Nice!
  • Grass Stains On Knees
  • Color  Your World Seersucker
That's all I got today. Like riding a bike, I need to get back on this writing thing and get the wheels spinning again. It's the only way to keep it going.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What The Girls Got

Yesterdays post was incomplete. I told you what they wanted, but left out what they got.
  • Hannah got my vote when she runs for President.
  • Grace got a conversation about our vacation to the Bahamas with an agreement to go back some day.
  • Maggie got her grape tomatoes.
  • Mary got her wine.
It was a good day.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

What The Girls Want

Hannah came home from school today letting me know that when she is elected President of the United States of America she will pass a law that all drinking fountains will serve lemonade.

Grace came home with a paper kite and a note in the shape of a puffy white cloud that said "I will fly my kite in the Bahamas."

Maggie wanted more grape tomatoes.

Mary wanted a class of wine.

I just took note.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Where To?

I had this thought in my head all day today. I couldn't shake it. It was a good thought. There was a kernal of an idea lingering in my head, and I thought that if I could find the right words I would sit down and create a post with those words. And though it was a good thought, and I was sure it was mine, I kept thinking that I had heard these words before; the idea was not new to me. Sure enough it was not new to me. I had written the words down almost one year ago.

I've reread them and I still like them in the order I put them in last March. You can read them here. I wonder if the trip to Vegas I'm taking this weekend is the trip I have been seeking.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Guess What?

Yesterday I shared with Mary a story about Maggie and how much she understands. She's not quite eighteen months old and doesn't say a word yet, but she can understand complex directions.

It happened when I was in Maggie's room and had just finished changing her diaper. I looked around for her socks and realized that she had taken them off earlier when we were downstairs in the playroom. I told her that I needed her to go get her socks and a pair of shoes so that we could put them on her and then go for a car ride to pick her sister up from school. With that she ran off and returned a minute later with both socks and a pair of her shoes. She dropped them in front of me and then turned and headed to the closet to get her coat. I thought that was pretty impressive and told Mary as much.

Upon hearing this Mary made a quip about how smart all our kids were and that she had heard about a recent study that explained that kids get their intelligence from their mother. I don't think she really believes this. I think it's more along the lines of saying to your spouse that "your son/daughter/dog/cat did something gross/not smart/not to my liking" when they've done something gross/not smart or not to their liking. The flipside is that this same spouse is also likely to claim that "my son/daughter/dog/cat/fish did something brilliant or fantastic" when they've done something they want to brag about. That she used a "recent study" to back up her claim doesn't really convince me. I'm more convinced that they do get their intelligence from her when I pick up the girls from school and hear their conversations with each other from my spot in the front seat. To wit, here's the car ride conversation Mary's daughters held yesterday:

"Yes Grace?"
"Guess what?"
"I don't know Grace. What?"
"Chicken butt!"

"Hey daddy!"
"Yes, Hannah?"
"Guess what?"
"Chicken butt!"

"Hey Hannah, guess what?"
"Chicken butt!"

"Hey Grace, guess what?"
"Chicken butt!"

And on and on this went until they started changing it little by little:

"Hey Daddy, guess why?"
"I don't know. Why?" I said playing along.
"Chicken thigh!"

"Hey Daddy, guess what?"
"What?" I asked hoping it was a different answer than the previous times.
"Chicken butt!"

"Okay." I said. This is funny. I get it. But..."
"You just said butt!" They said in unison.
"I didn't mean your gluteus maximus." I said.
"Did you mean my gluteus minimus?' asked Hannah giggling.

And then the conversation, if you could call it that, degraded even further:

"Hey Daddy, guess what?" asked Grace.
"I give up. What?" I replied.
"I have a chicken in my butt!"

I have a feeling that when she reads this Mary is going to say "You need to teach your children not to say 'butt' in public."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ignorance is to Bliss as Marriage is to...?

"You know what, Mary?"
"What's that?"
"You're pretty smart."
"Thank you."
"You've got a high IQ, don't you?"
"Yeah. I could have joined Mensa when I was younger. I think it was either my PSAT or my ACT score that qualified me to join."
"I'd like to know my IQ. Maybe I should take a test to see if I would qualify."
"Um, honey... why would you want to do that?"
"What are you saying? You don't think I would qualify for Mensa?"
"I'm just saying I don't think you need a test to prove you're smart."
"Okay. I get it. What you are really saying is 'why take the test and know for sure that Mary has a higher IQ?', right? That's what this is about right? You think I'm better off not knowing than taking the test and proving I'm not as smart as you, eh?"
"Something like that."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence."
"No problem."

Sunday, February 24, 2008

She's Got It Going On!

Today Grace said to me "You know what Dad? Mom is righty tighty, lefty loosy... all morning, noon and night!"

Now what that means exactly I do not know. But there is no doubt that from the way she said it that this five year old thinks her mom is one righteous chick.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


On December 20th, 2007 we loaded up the minivan and moved to Springfield, Missouri; Ozark country. Since then each weekend has been filled up either with entertaining friends and family coming to see us in our new digs or our adventures taking the girls on field trips to explore our new community.

This past weekend we expanded our exploration of our new area when the family took a road trip to Branson, Missouri; an easy thirty minute drive from Springfield due south on I-65. For those unfamiliar with Branson, just think of Las Vegas... now make it family friendly and about 1/16th the size... now picture it located it in Southern Missouri... in the Ozarks. Did I mention we moved to the Ozarks? Sprinkle in a few family acts like the Haygoods (could you have a more family friendly sounding act?) the Oakridge Boys, Andy Williams, Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, Shoji Tabuchi (whose lobby bathrooms are apparently "fabulous" and "not to be missed" attractions in and of themselves), Yakov Smirnoff and you've got Branson, Missouri.

Our main goal this day was really to get the girls out of the house for a few hours and maybe, just maybe tire them out enough so that they'd go to bed early. Maggie and I had been sick all week and Mary was now starting to catch what we had.

After spotting a billboard earlier in the week the girls asked if we could go to The Titanic Museum. And that's what we did.

It was a surprisingly fun museum. The girls loved getting to meet "Rose" as she strolled through the "ship" and seeing the vintage clothing and rescued items. After dipping our hands in the pool of 28 degree water we all agreed we'd be goners if we were cast into the sea on that fateful voyage. The museum guides handed out cards at the beginning of the tour with names and brief bios of actual passengers on the trip. At the end of the tour you find out if your person made it or not. All three girls and Mary had people who survived. Mine, a third class passenger, was not so fortunate. If you are in Branson and have the time I'd give a thumb's up to checking out the Titanic.

As we were leaving Mary promised the girls that if they were able to get buckled quickly we'd find some place to get a quick treat to eat. They did and off we went. As we drove down Main Street we decided to spend a few extra minutes to tour the town. This being my first visit to Branson, I was driving slowly so we could look around.

We passed the Hollywood Wax Museum, Celebration City, the Baldknobbers Theatre and Andy Williams place. Mary wanted to find some outlet stores so we took a detour off the main road.

As we drove down a side street Gracie commented from the back.

"Did we just pass OB/GYN?"

"What was that sweetie?" asked Mary from the front passenger seat.

"OB/GYN. Did we go past it."

"Um. What do you mean honey?"

Mary and I exchanged confused looks with one another. Neither of us had any idea where this comment came from or what it was related to. Why was our five year old asking about an OB/GYN?

Then Hannah piped up from the back, very matter-of-factly "She means TCBY."

Mary and I did our best not to burst out laughing. I'm fairly certain I have never heard anyone confuse TCBY with OB/GYN. Mary says I'm to stop here and not make any more comments. I think she fears that I might say something in bad taste.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Coming Back Soon

The move is over. The boxes are unpacked and we have the kids in somewhat of a regular routine. The material is there. Just need to start writing again. Which will be happening soon. Promise!